Twitter Reactions: Balkh Legends thrash table toppers Paktia Panthers

Twitter Reactions: Balkh Legends thrash table toppers Paktia Panthers

With three matches still to play, Balkh Legends are almost certain of featuring in next weekend's semi-finals.

Ryan ten Doeschate
Ryan ten Doeschate. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Mohammad Shahzad’s Paktia Panthers were sitting pretty at the top of the table on Saturday morning, but they’ve now been dethroned by the Balkh Legends. Chasing 196, the Panthers were nowhere near the target after their middle order crumbled within a span of 4 overs. Having handed Paktia a proper thrashing, it’s the Legends who now take the top spot with 8 points in the bag. With three matches still to play, they are almost certain of featuring in next weekend’s semi-finals.

The Legends started off with what is quite certainly the most dangerous opening combination in this inaugural edition of the Afghanistan Premier League. The mighty Chris Gayle walked out with another left-hander Colin Munro, the latter in particular being in terrific form of late in the shortest format of the game. However, it was a subdued start for the Legends who lost Gayle in the 5th over. 10 balls later, Munro departed after having got off to a start. At 50 for 2, the Dutch veteran Ryan ten Doeschate walked out to the middle and completely changed the complexion of the game.

Striking at over 180, the 38-year-old smashed the ball to the fence at will. He got to 74 off just 41 deliveries, an innings laced with 5 sixes and 4 fours. Tendo was well supported by Darwish Rasooli at no.3, who contributed 44 off 28. Lower down the order, England’s Ravi Bopara played a little cameo before being trapped LBW by Isuru Udana. Ten Doeschate, however, was the wrecker in chief with his unbeaten knock, propelling Mohammad Nabi’s Balkh Legends to a first innings total of 195.

In reply, the Paktia Panthers got exactly the kind of start they were looking for. Openers Mohammad Shahzad and Rahmanullah Gurbaz struck 2 sixes each inside the first 3 overs, which allowed the Panthers to stay abreast with the required run rate. The very first ball of the 4th over however turned the game on its head as skipper Shahzad was dismissed for 16. In the following over, Paktia lost in-form Cameron Delport. There were two 10-run overs right after, which kept the Panthers in the hunt. But from the 8th onwards, they completely lost the plot.

The Paktia Panthers essentially lost a wicket in each over thereafter, and from 69 for 3, they tumbled to 99 for 9. It was just a matter of time before the final wicket fell because the equation was well outside the Panthers’ reach. They were eventually bundled out for 106 which handed the Balkh Legends a sizable 89-run victory, as well as the top spot on the points table. Ravi Bopara stood out in the Legends’ bowling attack, finishing with figures of 3 for 17.

Here is how Twitter reacted to this one-sided affair between the Paktia Panthers and the Balkh Legends: